The ST Racing team traveled to Barcelona on the weekend of September 9th-11th with their M4 GT3, in their first return to the series since they won outright at the Mugello 12-Hour back in March, which was also the first win for the new M4 GT3.
It looked like ST Racing and drivers Samantha Tan, Nick Wittmer, Bryson Morris, and Steven Aghakhani were on track to win again in Barcelona. Aghakhani (who also drives a Mercedes in the SRO GT World Challenge America series) qualified the #1 M4 GT3 fifth overall, just two-tenths off the front row, and a strong opening stint by Wittmer moved them up to second by the fourth lap. By the fifth hour, they were in the overall lead and had built a sizable gap to the second-place car.
Unfortunately, a head gasket failure in the thirteenth hour led to retirement. This was after leading the race for 283 laps, more than any other car except for the WTM Racing team Ferrari that ultimately won the race. “It was heart wrenching to see our car running P1 for most of the race only to lose our position at the thirteenth hour and then abruptly stop,” said Team Principal Kenneth Tan. “We race to win, and our crew traveled from Canada to Europe to completely prepare the car. However, a problematic fuel specification issue, which we identified during Wednesday’s test day, ultimately caused the engine failure. Nevertheless, we showed our true heart and spirit during the first half of the race with a very strong performance in the pit and on the track.”
Poulsen Motorsport, which was the only other team with an M4 GT3 entered in the race, had a strong race. They finished fourth overall after running at the front for most of the race, in what was really considered to be a development race. It was the Danish teams first 24-Hour series race since 2016 and they were impressed with the M4 GT3. “We’re here with our BMW, which we bought over a year ago,” said Team Principal Kristian Poulsen. “We’re impressed how easy this car is to drive. Other cars we’ve raced in the past, you had to work quite hard to get them to go fast, but the M4 is really easy, and BMW has made a really good car.”—David Haueter
[Photos courtesy 24H Series]